Thursday, August 19, 2010


In the weeks following my brother's death, his 'remains' - what was left of his body after the undertakers turned him into a waxen effigy - have appeared in my dreams several times. Some burial customs give me the ultimate creeps and I have scribbled a few phrases about John which may form a type of free verse/poem, eventually. After a time, I hope this image of him will fade. I'm trying to help the process by looking at pictures of him when he was alive.

Some days ago, I wrote a personal essay that might become funny, but it's very clunky at the moment and needs a lot of work. So, I decided, after stabbing at it repeatedly with my revision pitchfork, to leave it for a while and return to an old story that needed to be fine-tuned and sent out again. I was more successful with that venture, and the story is now in the mail.

When I took the envelopes to the post office to be weighed in order to determine the correct postage for sending them to the United States, the clerk informed me that one of the zip codes was invalid. What the hell? went through my mind but, since I'm a polite Canadian, I didn't say it. Why do our postal service people enter those zip codes in the computer? Who needs that information and why do they need it? In any event, I told the clerk to enter only the first five numbers of the code and the computer accepted the info and produced a stamp label. With all that meticulous attention to detail, my MS is almost certain to go to the right country.

And speaking of countries, okay I wasn't really, but I need to pretend there's continuity here, I'm disappointed in the people that run ours. Members of the Canadian armed forces have a long and honourable record, and our government says it supports our troops. But our veterans disagree and so does the Veterans Affairs Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will soon lose his job. I hope that the injustices he has pointed out will be addressed and not forgotten. A paltry lump sum payment does not adequately provide for veterans whose wounds, physical, and or psychological can have long-term effects on them and on their families. I also hope that veterans, old and young, continue to speak out about this. I am writing a letter to my Member of Parliament. He is a Conservative and I expect a pablum-like response. Possibly, the PMO has already given him a form letter to send out to grumblers like me.

I think I'll go to Timmys now and listen to the grumblers there. Maybe they have a different topic.

'Til next time.


Pat Hollett said...

Good blog Diane. I laughed about the 'form letter' from the government, because being a Canadian myself, we're used to that 'brush off' by the people who run our country and we accept it as the norm. Fortunately there are people such as yourself who don't sit back and let these things pass and continue to write letters to effect change. Thanks for being a fellow Canadian! :)

Angela Addams said...

Gosh I know what you mean about that last image of someone who has passed. I have this terrible image of my grandmother that I will never, ever, get out of my brain. That's why I avoid the viewing at funerals now...I don't need to remember then that way.

Lori Hahnel said...

Same thing happened to me shortly after my father died, though we didn't have a viewing and the cremation took place before the funeral. But I guess it's hard not to think of the physical body, at some level. In my case I only dreamt about it two or three times. Hope it abates for you soon. (Hugs)

Falcata Times said...

Sorry to hear about the nightmares Diane. The one thing I'd like to suggest is sorting yourself a special box to put things in for him. My other half has one for her Dad where she put's cards, letters and the odd pressie if she see's something special for him. It might help.